January 31, 2001
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

This is the story of Cory.

His earliest memories are family canoe trips and studying his parents scrap book from their travels in Europe(but he called it "Gorip", the word his mother used for trail mix: a combination of peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds and cocco chips.) Down the hill, by the ocean, lives a painter named Peggy, who would visit when his parents were away, and show him coins from foreign countries, and tell stories of the Sphinx and Dead Sea Scrolls.

His house on the forest fringe had many potted plants and large windows with no curtains—showing little separation between inside and out. He was at home everywhere he roamed. Raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, and chickadee’s were his pets, which he thought was best, because he didn’t need to feed them or clean up their mess.

Public school was boring for Cory. Outside is where he rather be. He didn’t like being told what to do. Other things were on his mind. He was a dreamer. "That won’t due," he was told, "You are failing grade two."

Cory walked through the forest on the way to school, often arriving tardy after the bell. In the sixth grade, he arrived to find the entire class eating ice cream, but there was none for him. Even worse, the principal told the class to stick out their tongue at him to make fun. School was not a supportive a environment. The message was clear: be like everyone else or be treated like an idiot.

One day, the principal told the class, "Most of you won’t go to university," then looked at Cory and said, "It’s not for everyone." In protest, Cory shouted back, "Everyone in my family goes to university if they want to!" At the end of the school year, Cory was presented with an award for Most Improved Student.

Skateboarding and Army Cadet training filled his early teens. Learning skateboard tricks created self-esteem. Cadet training was a game; he didn’t mind discipline, because it was physical training and getting paid to play in the woods.

Junior high school was like prison, except Mr. Gray’s art class, when he was free to do as he pleased, and his father’s science class, where hands-on experiments were fun, and he went on field trips to the beach and whale watching. Not one other teacher took him outside to explore.

In tenth grade, Cory decided to strive for a scholarship to attend military officer training college, and he achieved honors to do so. Smoking and drinking didn’t interest Cory; he spent spare time getting high… climbing mountains.

In the eleventh grade, Cory had an epiphany when he reached the conclusion that life is whatever a person makes it and it is impossible to fail unless they quit. To test this philosophy, he went into the high school library and planned out his idea of the ultimate life to age 35. After learning photography by shooting for the year book, and learning to scuba dive and sky dive through creating a community access cable television series, Cory planned to paddle around the continent(although never before in a kayak), from Vancouver to his home in Saint John—via Nicaragua in Central America, and like an adventure novel, a web site would record his experiences—supported by those who appreciated the project. After that, he would direct a school that made learning fun, and winters would be spent sailing with his friends in warm climates— where they would create cultural exchange summer camp-like projects.

As a constant reminder of my mission—a Motivational Academic Xperience, I adopted the acronym "MAX". My note book, MAX @ School - Living an Adventure Novel, would be freely open for all to see—enabling readers to offer insight and opportunities.

I kayaked to school a few times, and went on a couple solo weekend trips, but still I had not paddled on the open ocean when I departed Vancouver on July 4th, 1997. The rest is history—recorded on MAX @ School.